08/02/2016 11:58AM

Free NHC qualifier this weekend on DRF Tournaments

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The National Handicapping Championship is the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament. There is no buy-in for the NHC, players must win their way in through a qualifying tournament. A limited number of these are open to any NHC Tour member for free, including this weekend’s NHC Qualify event at DRF Tournaments.

Last weekend’s free NHC Qualify event attracted nearly 2,000 players, with four participants winning their way into the 2017 NHC with its expected $2.5 million purse. The top four finishers in Sunday’s free contest will each earn an automatic berth to the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas, to be held Jan. 27-29, 2017, at Treasure Island. Each winning prize package includes NHC entry, four nights at Treasure Island, and airfare reimbursement up to $400.

In addition to the purse, there is a $3 million bonus available to any contestant who can sweep the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge Nov. 4 and 5 and the NHC.

Registration for the free contest is underway. If you have an existing NHCQualify.com or DRF Tournaments account go to tournaments.drf.com and log in. If you have not registered on DRF Tournaments, go to tournaments.drf.com and click on the “REGISTER” button at the top of the page. You may create your account on the right of the page. Once you are logged in click the “ENTER” button next to the contest description, then confirm your entry. For assistance contact tourneyhelp@drf.com.

To participate, players must first register for the NHC Tour, which they can do at www.ntra.com/membership. One must be a current NHC Tour member to play in free online qualifiers. There will be another free contest on Sept. 3, also via NHCQualify.com. For a complete list of all qualifying tournaments, check out https://www.ntra.com/nhc/nhc-events/.

The free qualifiers also offer NHC Tour points, with the top 10 percent of finishers earning shares of a pool estimated at 250,000 points (with 3,750 to the winner), based on an estimated 1,500 players. The final number of points available will be determined on a sliding scale according to the number of participating NHC Tour players.

This marks the first free contest of the NHC Tour’s “second half,” which starts with a clean slate separate from the overall standings. The top five on the NHC Tour leaderboard from Aug. 1 to Jan. 1 will each be awarded a$10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat. Meanwhile, the overall yearlong NHC Tour continues through Jan. 1, with $175,000 in prizes paid out to the top 20, from $75,000 (plus a trophy and an automatic berth to NHC 19) for the NHC Tour champion to $1,000 for 20th. The top 40 NHC Tour finishers will then compete for a $25,000 bonus to the player from that elite group with the highest score at NHC 18.

For more information on the NHC and NHC Tour, visit www.ntra.com/nhc.